Traditional Surrogacy vs. Gestational Surrogacy

Surrogacy refers to the process of third party reproduction, wherein a woman agrees to become pregnant and carry someone else’s baby in her womb, under a contract. Whether the baby has any genetic connection to the surrogate depends on the kind of surrogacy method chosen. Those looking at surrogacy options in India must ensure they know about the procedure well in advance — almost all clinics offering commercial surrogacy offer only the gestational arrangement. Read on to know further.

Surrogacy services can be availed by heterosexual couples who are unable to have a child on their own, by same sex couples, and by single men/women for whom surrogacy is the only way in which parenthood can be achieved.

The two kinds of surrogacy are: Traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy, also known as straight surrogacy, is relatively simple and less expensive but it is not legal in some places due to possible emotional and legal complications.

We list below the important features of gestational and traditional surrogacy:

Features of Gestational Surrogacy:

  1. Gestational surrogacy is an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) where the surrogate plays ‘host’ to the embryo that is transferred to her uterus.
  2. The embryo is produced through the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process, that is, the biological mother’s egg is mixed with the biological father’s sperm in a glass dish in the lab.
  3. The process of gestational surrogacy: The surrogate starts taking birth control pills to align her cycle with the intended mother’s. Through medication, the surrogate’s hormones are regulated in such a way that her body becomes ready for pregnancy. She is monitored regularly by blood tests and ultrasound to check hormone levels and the appropriate development of her uterine lining. Three to five days after egg fertilization, a number of embryos are inserted into the surrogate’s uterus. The embryo transfer takes just a few minutes, and the surrogate remains at the clinic for an hour or two. A successful pregnancy can be confirmed in two weeks.
  4. If the intended mother is unable to use her own eggs—due to ovarian disease, advancing age, or some medical issue—donor eggs can be used. In gestational surrogacy the donated eggs are never from the surrogate.
  5. The gestational surrogate acts as a carrier to the baby with whom she shares no genetic bonds. The baby carries the genes of the intended parents (or some egg or sperm donor) and not the surrogate.
  6. Obviously, there are less chances of legal hassles or litigation, should the surrogate change her mind after the delivery of the baby. Usually in gestational surrogacy, all parenthood rights over the baby rest with the intended parent/s as the genetic bonds can be established between the baby and them. But countries vary in the way they look at gestational surrogacy and parental rights.
  7. As gestational surrogacy clearly demarcates the relationship between the three parties involved— intended parents, surrogate, and baby— it is preferred the most over traditional surrogacy.
  8. As gestational surrogacy involves IVF, it is usually more expensive than traditional surrogacy, which only involves artificial insemination.
  9. If one attempt fails, it will perhaps take months before another attempt can be made as the cycles of the surrogate and the intended mother have to be synchronized.

Features of Traditional Surrogacy:

  1. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own eggs, either because the intended mother does not have her own eggs or because her eggs are of poor quality.
  2. Pregnancy occurs through artificial insemination. The sperm of the biological father is placed in the vaginal canal or directly in the uterus of the surrogate.
  3. In this method, the surrogate has a biological/genetic relationship with the baby because she uses her own eggs.
  4. It has the potential to cause legal hassle, should the surrogate change her mind at the last moment. (For instance, this is what happened in the Baby M case.)
  5. Traditional surrogacy is usually cheaper than gestational surrogacy as no IVF is required.
  6. It also has a faster rebound time than gestational surrogacy, that is, if one attempt fails, another can be made in a matter of weeks.

Understanding the differences between gestational and traditional surrogacy is imperative for any intending parent before they make a choice. It is also important that you study the legal details of your chosen procedure. Surrogacy laws in India are different from those in the UK or the US. Infact, surrogacy laws in Australia vary by the state. Please ensure you study the legal details of the procedure as in the place where you choose to have it done.


Medical-Trip facilitates gestational surrogacy in India at top-rated clinics in the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai. For more information and your FREE quote, please fill-out the estimate-request form on the right.